Terpene 101: What is a Terpene and How to Enjoy Them
Cannabis has many different components to it that make it so unique. Did you know there are over 120 cannabinoids in weed? You have probably heard of THC and CBD already. THC is responsible for the main psychoactive ‘high’ feeling and CBD covers all your non-intoxicating effects. But there is another component that is often overlooked in cannabis, it is terpenes!
So what are terpenes, and what do they do? Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are found in all plants, and even some animals. Terpenes are responsible for the taste and smell of a plant. Specific to cannabis, terpenes are what makes one strain taste like an orange peel, and another like a pine tree. They’re what helps you to tell what strain you’re smoking from the smell alone. It’s not as simple as that though!
Terpenes can enhance certain psychoactive effects while not necessarily being a psychoactive component of cannabis. There’s this lovely little thing called the Entourage Effect. This is the theory that the “full spectrum” of cannabis, including all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in cannabis, work synergistically to enhance the sensations and effects of cannabis. Not only that, but it’s different from person to person. A dominant terpene in one strain may be the reason that one person feels extremely high, while someone else has a more mild buzz. Finding the terpene that vibes the best with you will help you to seek out strains with that terp, allowing you to maximize your cannabis potential. Pretty cool, huh?
List of Terpenes
There are over 150 different terpenes found in cannabis, but there are a core group of them that are more commonly found than others. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more common terpenes you’ll find in your stash, and their benefits:
- Myrcene - earthy, musky, clove-like aroma. It is found most commonly in mangos, thyme, and hops. It’s known for causing an overall body relaxation, also known as “couch-lock.” Have you ever heard that eating mango before smoking weed will get you higher? It’s true! Mango contains a significant amount of myrcene, so eating it before consuming cannabis can strengthen the effects of THC.
- Pinene - pine, outdoorsy, earthy aroma. Most commonly found in pine trees (who would have guessed?). Pinene can sometimes help with pain, inflammation and anxiety.
- Limonene - fruity, citrusy aroma. It’s most commonly found in lemon peel, orange peel, and juniper. Limonene is believed to help relieve stress and anxiety. You’ll find this strain the most in any Lemon based strains (Lemon Z, Lemon Sour Diesel, etc).
- Linalool - very floral aroma and taste, and is most commonly found in lavender and birch bark. It can promote relaxation and calming effects.
- Caryophyllene - spicy, woodsy, peppery aromas. It is most commonly found in black pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Caryophyllene also acts as a cannabinoid, it can activate our endocannabinoid system to provide anti-inflammatory effects.
- Terpinolene - piney, floral, heracious and citrusy aroma all in one! This terpene is commonly found in small amounts across a wide variety of strains, but strains that are dominant in terpinolene are some of the best tasting buds out there (in my humble opinion). It’s commonly found in lilac, nutmeg and cumin. It is believed to cause uplifting effects.
The higher the terpene percentage in your cannabis, the better the weed will be. A high terpene percentage is an indicator of a well taken care-of plant. The buds will smell potent and have strong flavour profiles. These reasons, compiled with the entourage effect, are why some experienced stoners are leaning towards higher terpene levels - even if that means sacrificing a higher THC percentage.
The Shell Shock Crew are always there to help you get the most out of your terpenes in your smoking experience. Here are some solid products we carry at Shell Shock to help you create the most full-spectrum smoke possible:
- Dry-Herb Vaporizers: the best way to enjoy all the flavours and effects of your buds. This is because dry herb vapes create a smokeable vapor from the bud, rather than combusting it like you would with a bong, pipe, or joint. You can set the temperature range - the lower the setting, the more flavours you'll taste! Good quality weed in a good quality vaporizer creates an unmatchable high. Here’s some of our dry-herb vapes!
- Terp Slurpers: a wonderful tool to help you get the most out of your dabs. This fancy banger works like any other banger does, but with a unique design to help you get every drop of your concentrate. The concentrate drips into the bottom slitted dish, and the airflow slits allow air to push the wax into the main part of the slurper to be vaporized. While this doesn’t necessarily improve the terpenes in your dabs, it can when paired with some Terp Pearls. Check out all things Slurping here!
- Terp Pearls: These are tiny glass beads (typically sphere or pill shaped) that go inside your banger and help to regulate heat. Terp pearls allow the wax to vaporize at a lower temperature. Since terpenes vaporize at a lower temperature than the other substances in wax, pearls help preserve terpenes. This can drastically improve the taste of your dabs. These are especially great when paired with any Terp Slurper banger. Check out the Whole Yo Dabba Line here!
- The Terp Timer by Octave: this device is a wireless desktop thermal sensor that allows you to dial in the exact temperature you desire when smoking concentrates. You simply set the desired temperature on the unit, and then place it on a flat surface underneath your banger. The timer will monitor the banger’s temperature, and beep to let you know when it hits your set temperature. Setting this device to a lower temperature will allow you to dab your concentrates at exactly the right temperature to optimize the terpenes and flavour profiles. Order your Terp Timer by Octave and see what else our store has to offer!
Terpenes are a powerhouse component of cannabis that have been overlooked in the past, but not anymore. With a quality bud or concentrate, some of these tools, and your new found terpene knowledge, you’ll be the top stoner at the sesh for sure. Have fun looking for strains with high terpene counts or growing your own and as always Happy Tokin from the Shell Shock Crew!